Monday, November 7, 2011

Changing Tradition

I've really been looking forward to the Holidays this year and have been talking about them since the beginning of fall. Our kids are getting bigger as they relentlessly do and we don't have to travel far to find a houseful. The top two still express experienced excitement;  Raegan, being four, is just starting to anticipate their arrival with a contagious sparkle in her eye and a near squeal in her voice. This is all still very new to John, but babies can definitely feel the energy as the days approach and he'll love all the breakables that he'll try to destroy. Totally nervous about my massive, very special Christmas village, this year, but that's a different post. We are focusing on Thanksgiving here.

Both of our families are local to where we live and for the past decade we have been splitting time between both sides. This whole decision on where to go stresses me out. I do not wish to alienate either side or seem like I'm choosing one or the other. Over the past 13 Thanksgiving's together (WOW!) we have came up with different compromising scenarios.

Some years we would visit both houses - we were able to visit everyone but ended up cranky and exhausted by the end of the very long day. Sometimes we would alternate, much less exhausting yet we would both miss the other place which put a bit of a damper on our moods. We hosted once or twice with Wil's full family in attendance as well as several other friends. The company was great but cooking for 16 is pretty daunting. The past few years we had split up and attended both - me and the bottom two to my parents, Wil and the top two to his family.  It was unconventional but it seemed to work other than the obvious - we weren't together as our own family unit.

We were discussing all of this and noting that while we loved all of our extended family very much, we really wanted to make the day - and the season - specifically about us. Wil, Melissa, Jakob, Abby, Raegan, and John. We both feel incredibly lucky to have this dynamic, energetic, big family, and we want that to be our focus on Thanksgiving.

(Christmas is different - we have long standing traditions that I am not willing to break, nor do any of us want to change them. Our family visits span the course of three days, creating a much appreciated, exhausting but an enjoyable mix of busy and togetherness. Again, different post.)

We made the decision to...STAY HOME for Thanksgiving! The thought of not having to go anywhere is so attractive and alluring. We plan to cook our feathers off and hopefully create some traditions of our own. I personally am looking forward to being able to nap and have all the leftovers.

I pray that our families understand where we are coming from. We don't wish to seem unsociable, as they are very, very important to us. We just want to try something different.

The big kids are kind of sketchy about this thought but it is my entire goal to WOW them. I've been researching fun crafts to do in anticipation and am planning a HUGE menu. I'll probably pick up a new game and a movie. The previous Thanksgivings leave me with big shoes plates to fill, but I'm up to the task!

So what about you? What do you do for Thanksgiving? Do you think we are being selfish and unsociable?  Do you budget your time between families? Do you stay home? What menu items can't you live without? Any specific games or movies or traditions that you do every year?